Metamorphic fluid origins in the Osborne Fe oxide–Cu–Au deposit, Australia: evidence from noble gases and halogens

Fisher, L.A., and Kendrick, M.A. (2008) Metamorphic fluid origins in the Osborne Fe oxide–Cu–Au deposit, Australia: evidence from noble gases and halogens. Mineralium Deposita, 43 (5). pp. 483-497.

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The Osborne iron oxide–copper–gold (IOCG) deposit is hosted by amphibolite facies metasedimentary rocks and associated with pegmatite sheets formed by anatexis during peak metamorphism. Eleven samples of ore-related hydrothermal quartz and two pegmatitic quartz–feldspar samples contain similarly complex fluid inclusion assemblages that include variably saline (<12–65 wt% salts) aqueous and liquid carbon dioxide varieties that are typical of IOCG mineralisation. The diverse fluid inclusion types present in each of these different samples have been investigated by neutron-activated noble gas analysis using a combination of semi-selective thermal and mechanical decrepitation techniques. Ore-related quartz contains aqueous and carbonic fluid inclusions that have similar ⁴⁰Ar/³⁶Ar values of between 300 and 2,200. The highest-salinity fluid inclusions (47–65 wt% salts) have calculated ³⁶Ar concentrations of approximately 1–5 ppb, which are more variable than air-saturated water (ASW = 1.3–2.7 ppb). These fluid inclusions have extremely variable Br/Cl values of between 3.8 × 10−3 and 0.3 × 10−3, and I/Cl values of between 27 × 10⁻⁶ and 2.4 × 10⁻⁶ (all ratios are molar). Fluid inclusions in the two pegmatite samples have similar ⁴⁰Ar/³⁶Ar values of ≤1,700 and an overlapping range of Br/Cl and I/Cl values. High-salinity fluid inclusions in the pegmatite samples have 2.5–21 ppb ³⁶Ar, that overlap the range determined for ore-related samples in only one case. The fluid inclusions in both sample groups have ⁸⁴Kr/³⁶Ar and ¹²⁹Xe/³⁶Ar ratios that are mainly in the range of air and air-saturated water and are similar to mid-crustal rocks and fluids from other settings. The uniformly low ⁴⁰Ar/³⁶Ar values (<2,200) and extremely variable Br/Cl and I/Cl values do not favour a singular or dominant fluid origin from basement- or mantle-derived magmatic fluids related to A-type magmatism. Instead, the data are compatible with the involvement of metamorphic fluids that have interacted with anatectic melts to variable extents. The ‘metamorphic’ fluids probably represent a mixture of (1) inherited sedimentary pore fluids and (2) locally derived metamorphic volatilisation products. The lowest Br/Cl and I/Cl values and the ultra-high salinities are most easily explained by the dissolution of evaporites. The data demonstrate that externally derived magmatic fluids are not a ubiquitous component of IOCG ore-forming systems, but are compatible with models in which IOCG mineralisation is localised at sites of mixing between fluids of different origin.

Item ID: 25862
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-1866
Keywords: Osborne; Mt Isa; IOCG; Australia; argon isotopes; halogens
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2013 04:13
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0403 Geology > 040307 Ore Deposit Petrology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 84 MINERAL RESOURCES (excl. Energy Resources) > 8401 Mineral Exploration > 840102 Copper Ore Exploration @ 80%
84 MINERAL RESOURCES (excl. Energy Resources) > 8401 Mineral Exploration > 840105 Precious (Noble) Metal Ore Exploration @ 20%
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